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Poetry ain't heavy, man

TRUTH BEING stranger than fiction it was no surprise to learn that the TV sci-fi series, The X-Files was right to refer to Yevgeny Podkletnov's anti-gravity research some years ago, but wrong to laugh at it.

The Russian scientist gave a lecture at Sheffield University this month where he claimed that his gravity-shielding experiments had made objects 5 per cent lighter.

Meanwhile, Dr Who, who defied gravity, time and belief, is returning to earth courtesy of Radio 4, but probably just for a one-off episode. "We don't want to build up fans' hopes," said a Beeb spokesman.

Harry Potter fans can look forward to his next book in July, but author JK Rowling is already stirring up controversy by revealing that her boy wizard is growing up and, horrors, showing an interest in girls. "I tend to think that if someone is sufficiently engaged in one of his books, he's not going to be too disappointed if, at some point, is hero holds hands with a little girl," she said.

The real life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, creator of the endearing hero, Le Petit Prince, is causing a stir in Paris as three books, due out next month to mark the centenary of the author's birth, will shed light on his stormy marriage. Relatives are not amused.

Neither are Robbie Burns buffs at the prospect of American actor Johnny Depp playing their hero in a film about the life of Scotland's national poet. Many fear he will mangle the accent like Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

"It could have been worse," said a resigned official at the Burns National Heritage Park. "Someone heard that Gerard Depardieu was up for it."

The venture should at least please David Blunkett as he has joined forces with Poet Laureate Andrew Motion to revive poetry in schools. Some might say that getting modern kids to love poetry would indeed be a gravity-defying feat.

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